Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fundamentalists want to turn back time

By Marv Knox
Associated Baptist Press

Despite all their theological and cultural differences,fundamentalists of every faith share at least one common characteristic: resistance to modernity. That’s the assessment of scholars and firsthand observers who have evaluated the
varieties of religious expression. “Fundamentalism worldwide is religious
anti-modernism,” noted Roger Olson, professor of theology at Baylor University’s George W. Truett Theological Seminary. “Fundamentalism reacts against various types of modernity,” echoed Bill Leonard, a church historian and dean of the Wake Forest
University Divinity School. Whether it’s Baptist preachers J. Frank Norris and Jerry Falwell calling America to return to pre-scientific Christianity or Ayatollah Khomeini and Muqtada al-Sadr calling Muslims to resist the intrusion of Western ecadence, fundamentalism finds a home in most major faith groups.
“In Christianity and Judaism, the battle with modernity in terms of elaborate militancy is the battle against pluralism — the idea there
are multiple ways to come to faith and that a given religion must come to terms with, and indeed conform to, society,” Leonard explained. The battle extends all the way back to 17th-century England and “a very painful process in the struggle between religious establishments and religious dissenters,” he said, an observation affirmed by Olson. The battle raged on American soil about a century ago, when Protestant fundamentalism resisted “the liberal modernist effort to
change theology in light of new scientific and rationalist theses,” Leonard added.
So, the more recent rise of Islamic fundamentalism is neither unique nor surprising in the relatively younger faith, he added. “Militant action against dissent and pluralism and certainly modernity has worked itself through major elements of Christianity worldwide.… The Muslims are just now confronting that.”...
Read More Of This Insightful Article: Here.

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